Ballyhale Shamrocks 0-22 Mount Leinster Rangers 0-16
Carlow hurling champions Mount Leinster Rangers put in a storming second half to push All-Ireland club champions Ballyhale Shamrocks all the way in this thrilling Leinster club hurling quarter-final played in a bitterly cold Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday before an attendance of 1,500.
The game appeared to be travelling expected lines in an opening half when the Kilkenny champions were the superior force, springing primarily from the fine hurling of midfield pairing of Ronan Corcoran and Brian Cody, who scored a combined 0-5 from play in the half.
Rangers opened and closed the scoring in the opening half with pointed frees from Denis Murphy but in between Shamrocks demonstrated their class with some superbly struck points out of play. By the first water break the visitors held an 0-9 to 0-2 lead and by half-time the lead was out to nine points (0-14 to 0-5).
TJ Reid showed some nice touches and picked off some good points while Adrian Mullen showed his class, posting three eye-catching points.
Rangers had the Shamrocks rocking late on when they cut the arrears to three points on 59 minutes through a pointed free from Murphy, who finished with 0-12, 0-11 from frees.
Minutes earlier Chris Nolan had set up full forward Jon Nolan for the best scoring chance of the game but Shamrocks goalie Dean Mason smothered the Rangers No 14's shot from a few yards out.
Shamrocks found a way to see off the spirited and substantial Rangers challenge, finishing clinically with late points from TJ Reid and Adrian Mullen after Rangers goalie Dean Grennan deflected Eoin Cody’s shot at goal.
BALLYHALE SHAMROCKS: D Mason; D Mullen, J Holden, K Mullen; E Shefflin (0-1), R Reid, B Butler; D Corcoran (0-1), R Corcoran; B Cody (0-4), TJ Reid 0-6 (three frees, one 65), C Fennelly; A Mullen (0-3), E Cody (0-3) J Cuddihy (0-4) .
Subs: E Reid for D Mullen (inj, 23); G Butler for B Butler (49); E Kenneally for Cuddihy (60 +3).
MOUNT LEINSTER RANGERS: D Grennan; G Kelly (0-1), D Phelan, M Doyle; R Kelly, D Byrne, G Lawlor; P Coady, R Coady (0-1); F Fitzpatrick (0-1), C Nolan, K McDonald; D Murphy (0-12, 11 frees), J Nolan, E Byrne.
Subs: T Joyce (0-1) for E Byrne (inj, 13).
Referee: R Fitzsimons (Offaly).